See a list of Nursing Programs by Clicking Here!
What is Nursing?
The field of nursing is a complex and varied, with many career paths and specialties available to choose from. Nursing is one aspect of the healthcare industry, with responsibilities mostly involving the care and treatment of individuals on a daily basis. Nurses will provided treatment and assistance to patients, as well as educate them in the healthcare practices that may assist in care and recovery. Nurses tend to form relationships with patients more easily than physicians due to proximity and the type of care offered, as a result, are often better equipped to provide advice and care to patients. Nursing utilizes a variety of sciences, and requires the study of patients, particularly their mental and physical health, in order to better assist in short and long term care.
A degree in nursing can be obtained through three possible routes, a bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN), an associate's degree in nursing (AND), or a diploma in nursing. A nursing program will educate an individual in the various skills and knowledge necessary to administer patient care. Nurses often have tasks similar to physicians, and depending on the type of nurse and certification, may be able to draw blood, administer medication, or determine a course of care for a patient. Nurses are also capable of treating small injuries and dressing wounds.
The programs vary in length and all of them will allow an individual to become an RN, but the benefits of each must be weighed against the other. BSN programs will typically take 4 years, ADN 2-3 years, and a diploma program administered by a hospital will take 3 years. Those who pursue a BSN program will find more opportunities in the future due to the higher level of education and degree, ADNs may have a difficult time gaining advancement but can often find work sponsors to obtain BSN while working. Diploma programs typically are administered by hospitals and will have the student working while he or she pursues the diploma. All programs are a mixture of class work and supervised clinical experience. Some accelerated programs are available allowing students to obtain a BSN and a master's of science in nursing (MSN) within four years.
Some courses required are:
Employment and Licensure
Pursuing a career in nursing requires individuals to dedicate time to their patients, review physicians notes, a certain amount of office work, as well as help during emergency situations. Specialized nurses are more highly sought after because the higher level of skill and specialization further decreases the immediate attention of a physician, allowing for more overall patient care. Individuals looking for a long term career in nursing should consider obtaining a BSN in order to work in supervisory positions, as well as earn and maintain any certifications received. By taking continuing education courses, a nurse will be able to refresh and update any skills and knowledge he or she may have. Every state requires nurses to obtain a license, and though requirements may vary, all states require a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN).
The four advanced practice specialties are:
- Clinical Nurse Specialists
- Nurse Practitioners (LPN)
- Nurse Anesthetists
Job Growth and Salary
Jobs for registered nurses (RN) are expected to grow rapidly. The reason for the expected growth is due to the aging and growing population of the United States, requiring more healthcare professionals to assist ailing individuals. Demographic and geographic factors may apply in regards to where the growth will appear fastest and demand will be highest. RNs that enter one of the four specialties and BSNs will be in higher demand than others. The average salary for a nurse is $62,500 per year with the lowest 10% earning less than $43,400.
For additional information about the nursing profession, read our Complete Guide to Nursing on the MatchCollege blog.